In North America, some of the endangered species that live in the grasslands include the black-footed ferret, the northern swift fox and the peregrine falcon. Other prairie-dwelling animals, such as the mountain lion and the greater prairie chicken, are not on the endangered species list, but are threatened and have suffered extreme losses in numbers.
Worldwide, there are 581 animals on the endangered species list in grassland habitats alone, and many more species are threatened, according to the IUCN Red List. Human intrusion, either direct or indirect, is the main cause of reduced natural grassland habitat. Agriculture, residential and commercial development, energy production, and mining, all pose serious threats to grassland dwelling animals. Grassland wildlife are particularly susceptible to population decline because water is not plentiful and grasslands are often ideal areas for agriculture.
The American bison is a perfect example of the effect of human intrusion on native grassland dwelling animals. The species was almost driven to extinction in the early 19th century due to commercial hunting and disease introduced by domestic cattle, though the American bison has increased in numbers due to protection in national parks and federal reserves.
Some animals of the grasslands have already become extinct, including the Great Plains wolf and the Audubon sheep.